Science and Faith
What some scientists have discovered…
Robert Jastrow (self-proclaimed agnostic): For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”1
George Greenstein (astronomer): “As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency—or, rather, Agency—must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”2
Tony Rothman (physicist): “When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it’s very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it.”3
Arthur L. Schawlow (professor of physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious.…I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”4
Frank Tipler (professor of mathematical physics): “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo- Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”5
David Block (professor of applied mathematics and astronomy at Witwatersrand University, South Africa and a Jewish believer in Jesus): “It might seem strange to some that a scientist and a Jew could come to faith in Jesus. But faith is never a leap into the dark. It is always based on evidence. All people believe and all scientists believe. They don’t all believe in a personal God, of course, but each one of us uses our own measure of faith. Each one of us has a personal world system, a personal belief system.
As a scientist, I always think logically and I reason things out. That was how my whole search for God began. I looked through my telescope at Saturn and said to myself, Isn’t there a great God out there? And when I studied relativity, relativistic astrophysics, cosmology and all these beautiful areas of mathematics, they pointed me to the fact that this whole universe is masterfully made, finely-tuned and controlled by the Great Designer. The logical next step was to want to meet this Designer face-to-face.”6
David Bruce Rose, Ph.D. (psychologist in private practice and a Jewish believer in Jesus): “Science and reason had little to do with my coming to trust in Jesus. While I understood all of my friends’ arguments regarding why they thought Jesus was the messiah, like Pascal, Jesus had to drag me kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of Heaven. It took the death of my grandfather for me to echo Pascal’s statement, ‘Fire. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and the scholars…’7
However, I need to add, I am too much a scientist to have remained a follower of Jesus unless my faith needed to be philosophically and scientifically consistent. I have to love God with my mind, not just my heart and soul. St. Anselm of Canterbury described my experience well when he wrote, ‘For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this I believe that unless I believe, I should not understand.'”8
- Jastrow, R. God and the Astronomers. New York: W.W. Norton, p. 116, 1978.
- Greenstein, G. The Symbiotic Universe. New York: William Morrow, p. 27, 1988
- Casti, J.L. Paradigms Lost. New York: Avon Books, p. 482-483, 1989.
- Margenau, H. and R. A. Varghese, eds. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens. Open Court Pub. Co., La Salle, IL, 1992.
- Tipler, F.J. The Physics Of Immortality. New York: Doubleday, Preface, 1994.
- Block, David. “For Heaven’s Sake: A Jewish Astronomer’s Odyssey,” ISSUES: A Messianic Jewish Perspective, Vol 7:8, 1991.
- ISSUES phone interview with Dr. David Bruce Rose, 2/09/06
- M.J. Charlesworth. St. Anselm’s Proslogian, Oxford: Clarendon Press, Chapter One, 1965.